IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT’S Monday! And it’s a game week Monday. Which means this rambling, orange-and-green-based weekly tomfoolery hath returnethed. And boy, it feels good. It’s been a minute since I’ve written one of these, and a lot has happened in that time, so let’s get to it...
1) First, I want you all to stop and take a minute to be thankful for the position Miami finds itself entering the 2022 season. As in a good one; one whose stock is pointing up - even though there’s a lot to still overhaul. There have been many “blue bloods” or otherwise historically successful programs that have fallen on hard times in the 21st century. Texas, USC, Miami, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Penn State, and (until last year) Michigan are a short list of programs that find themselves talking about yesteryear way too much because the recent ones have been (mostly) stinky. And perhaps a bigger disappointment than ANY of those programs is Nebraska. You talk about a program that used to represent tough, nasty, physical football, and you thought of the Huskers’ neck-rolled fullbacks and tight ends landing crushing blocks behind a corn-fed group of bullies on the offensive line. They were a true machine for many decades. And then Frank Solich was fired and they haven’t sniffed a “BCS-level bowl” since (I still use that term to refer to true major bowl games, because the Cotton and Peach Bowls during the BCS era weren’t ones). Miami killing the Huskers in the Rose Bowl was literally the last time they’ve played in a major bowl game. They haven’t played in ANY bowl game since December 2016! What?!
And there was hope for them this year, with a load of transfers in and the excuses gone for Scott Frost. The fans were fired up, traveling to Ireland en masse to drink some beer and watch their Huskers kick butt. Hope they enjoyed the beer, because that’s all they got to see. I hate to see Scott Frost fail, because he seems like a likeable guy who passed up what was a good spot for himself at UCF to take his dream job back home. I hate seeing good people fail at anything, but especially at their dream jobs.
My point is twofold. First, as mentioned, I feel terrible for Scott Frost and hate to see good people fail. I hated seeing all of Miami’s former coaches fail, especially Randy Shannon, who might as well have bled orange and green. I...well...just hate that kind of thing, but unfortunately such is life. Second, as far as our head coach at his dream job, if the Canes don’t hit double digit wins this fall and win the ACC, don’t necessarily call this season an outright failure. It takes some time to get your guys in and your systems implemented. If Miami goes 8-4, wins a bowl game, and improves as they do it, remember there are fans of other programs who would absolutely take it and run to the bank right now. In fact, right now they’re currently sitting at gate A34 in the Atlanta airport waiting for their flight to Lincoln.
2) Now, as far as the Canes’ 2022 outlook, here’s my game by game prediction:
9/3 vs. BCC W
9/10 vs. Southern Miss W
9/17 @ Texas A&M L
9/24 vs. MTSU W
10/8 vs. UNC W
10/15 @ Virginia Tech W
10/22 vs. Duke W
10/29 @ Virginia L
11/5 vs. FSU W
11/12 @ Ga Tech W
11/19 @ Clemson L
11/26 vs. Pitt W
ACC Championship Game vs. Clemson L
Bowl game W
So I’ve got the Canes going 10-4, getting to Charlotte, but coming up just short to Clemson twice. Some of you may crucify me for this, and that’s ok, but Miami was a 5-loss team a season ago and still has some improving to do in certain areas before I believe they win against a team like Clemson away from home; i.e., improvement at all linebacking spots, finding a game-breaking WR1, and developing a cohesive, physical offensive line. May I be proven wrong (please), but I think calling for the team to improve from 7 to 10 wins is a fair expectation and would represent honest progress.
3) As for Saturday, yeah, this will be a 2.5-quarter game for the starters to get fine tuned for next week, as Miami rolls to a 55-13 win. I like that Miami slowly steps up the level of competition from doormat to lower-end FBS level before going to College Station in 3 weeks.